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Heikki Särkkä

Question and Answer

  • What is your name?
    • Heikki Särkkä
  • Where do you live?
    • Seinäjoki, Finland
  • How long have you been an interpreter or translator?
    • 47 years
  • What made you decide to become a translator or interpreter?
    • main job, which was teaching English.
  • List one strength that you think sets you apart from your colleagues.
    •  Ability to translate hand-written 17th c. Swedish
  • Name the one thing that you most enjoy in your translating or interpreting career.
    • Deciphering barely legible hand-writing.
  • We all have worked on those not-so-perfect assignments. Write about one such assignment that was not ideal and what you learned from it.
    • My biggest ever mistake was accepting a simultaneous interpretation job with no booth provided. I had had some experience of SI in normal circumstances, which I very much enjoyed. I should have turned the offer down without hesitation rather than believe talking in a low voice into a microphone in the same room with another speaker would be feasible. It is not.
  • If you could go back in time to when you were just starting out as a translator or interpreter, what advice would you give to your younger self?
    • Devise a system by which you can retrace a copy of all of you previous jobs during your career. The database should be searchable not only by the name of the client, but also by the type of text translated.
  • Name one resource – such as a phone app, CAT tool, website, and so forth – that you find especially helpful in your translating or interpreting work.
    • My wife has been an invaluable help in checking my translations into Finnish.
  • What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
    • Neagu Djuvara's autobiography Amintiri din pribegie (An exile remembers) comes pretty close to the top.

 Neagu Djuvara


"Povestea vietii lui Neagu Djuvara are verva salbatica a unui peisaj luxuriant. Nu e suficient sa spui ca a trecut prin multe. A trecut prin tot. Razboi si Universitate, aventura si savantlac, exil si repatriere, Europa si Africa, diplomatie, filozofia istoriei, spionaj, jurnalistica, Sorbona, Niamey si Bucuresti, boierie si saracie, profesorat, politica, explozie creatoare dupa varsta de 80 de ani, anonimat si glorie, actiune, contemplativitate, radicalitate, cordialitate, hazard. Recunoaste singur ca a fost mereu insotit, in momentele decisive, de un «noroc» salutar. (Andrei PLESU)


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